16 Mar Innovator Spotlight: Vertical Cannabis Farm with The Guild San Jose
An introduction to The Guild San Jose, their vertical cannabis farm and focus on maximizing space, energy and production with Fluence lighting systems.
San Jose, Calif., and its surroundings — Silicon Valley — are legendary as the home of unmatched technological innovation. The brilliant innovations that have sprung from the area’s rampant brainpower have revolutionized the way we live our lives.
So it’s no surprise that San Jose is at the forefront of another revolution: the carefully controlled licensing and permitting of cannabis production and sales facilities in California’s hitherto patchwork of laws and regulations. The city was among the first in California to enact strict limits on where new and existing dispensaries can locate, who can run them and how they operate.
The Guild San Jose is the flagship
dispensary of the California Growers Guild –
a collective of master growers and breeders.
In December, the city of one million residents granted just 16 licenses to carefully selected dispensaries. Among those is The Guild San Jose, the flagship dispensary of the The Guild – a collective of master growers, breeders, retail operators, extraction specialists and industry insiders. The Guild is dedicated to producing the highest quality, medical-grade cannabis for residents of the Golden State. The Guild specializes in producing high-terpene cannabis, with enhanced flavor and aroma, using organic and sustainable growing methods.
“We were thrilled to have received one of the licenses,” says Brook Eagle, Head of Cultivation at The Guild San Jose. “We’re looking forward to bringing high-quality medicine to the people of San Jose. We are excited to bring Guild-approved genetics and products to the South Bay.”
An early start
After receiving the go-ahead in mid-December, The Guild San Jose got right to work, planting its first crop of 650 plants at the start of the new year. Nine different strains — including Kosher Kush, Strawberry Banana, and Sherbet — went under 48 SPYDRx PLUS LED-based lighting systems from Fluence Bioengineering.
Constrained by power restrictions and a 25,000-square-foot facility, The Guild San Jose also elected to utilize a vertical-growing strategy. The current two-tier system will soon expand to three tiers, says Eagle. “By going vertical, we can greatly increase our canopy and meet the needs of all of our patients. The Guild “saw the light” thanks to their partner Nicholas Maderas of F4. “The Fluence LED grow light system offered new levels of efficiency and plant production in The Guild/F4 cutting-edge cultivation plans. The SPYDRx PLUS systems were crucial in enabling us to do this.” A long-time California cannabis grower, Eagle wasn’t initially convinced of the benefits of LED grow lights. “I never liked any of them. I used HID.” Then F4, a design and rep firm that specializes in controlled environment agriculture products, introduced him to Fluence.
“I was impressed by the efficiency and the lack of projected heat,” says Eagle.
And then I learned about their PhysioSpec spectrum and how it’s tailored specifically to the needs of the cannabis plants,” Eagle adds.
Six feet tall; thicker, stronger
Even in the infancy of his first grow, Eagle is flabbergasted at the lights’ impact on his crop. “I’ve seen drastic differences in vegetation phase. We saw 3”-4” of new growth when the plants hit their stride,” he says. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
The Guild San Jose plans to add more Fluence LED grow lights this spring.
Six weeks into the vegetative stage, his plants were over 6’ tall with the lights running at just 80% of full output. “The stalks are much stronger and thicker — the plants are stockier, with more nodes,” Eagle says, “We’re seeing an extremely even canopy with very little canopy management.”
Eagle eagerly anticipates his first harvest in April.
Some of the tests that I’ve seen show that the spectrum of light can enhance higher terpenes and higher resin,” Eagle says.
“We look forward to running tests to see how we did on this first grow,” he adds.
Even before the first crop is tested, based on the growth he’s seeing so far, Eagle is already planning designs with F4 to add more Fluence systems to his operation this spring.
And while The Guild San José is thrilled with the fast growth and uniform canopy they’ve seen under the Fluence lights, for Eagle, customer satisfaction is an even more important metric of success. “We just want to grow the highest quality medicine for our patients with the lowest impact to the environment,” he says.
This summer, San José medicinal cannabis patients will get to judge the success of The Guild San Jose’s new growing methods.